TOP2014: RD1: Mario's vs. Marino's

Marino's and Mario's exteriors

The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- rolls along with a showdown between 2010 tournament champ Marino's of Schenectady and two-time semifinalist Mario's of Niskayuna

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And, again, the types of the pizza for this first round: sausage and the ever-tricky broccoli ricotta white pizza.

Pizza judges, assemble!

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

A quick note about how all this works:
Unlike in years past, the judging for the first round of this year's TOP occurred at the shops and, as a result, was not blind. Pizzas are scored in four categories: crust, sauce, toppings, overall taste. The scores from the judges -- each matchup is scored by a panel of 4 or 5 judges -- are combined and pizzas are scored on a 0-100 scale.

The pizzas

Mario's

TOP2014_RD1_Marios_sausage.jpg

TOP2014_RD1_Marios_broccoli.jpg

Marino's

TOP2014_RD1_Marinos_sausage.jpg

TOP2014_RD1_Marinos_broccoli.jpg

Scoreboard

TOP2014 RD1 Marios v Marinos scoreboard

Post game

Boom! Marino's announces its presence in the TOP with a remarkable performance. The 84 scored by its broccoli ricotta white pizza is the highest the second-highest individual pizza score in the TOP modern era. (Corrected: We hadn't included DeFazio's Buffalo chicken and its 86 from last year's final.)

Sausage

Mario's
The Niskayuna restaurant's sausage pie didn't light up the judges. They described its crust as "gummy," "soggy," and "chewy, not in a good way." One judge noted some nice crust bubbles, though. The sausage pizza's sauce register as OK -- one judge remarked it had a "concentrated," "good flavor" and another noted it was the best part of the pie. The judges agreed the cheese was pretty good, but the sausage didn't go over all that well -- multiple tasters noted it lacked seasoning and was a bit chewy.

Marino's
Marino's turned out a very solid sausage pizza. Judges noted the crust had a nice crispness to it, though some would have liked to have seen a bit more lift. They appreciated the "judicious" application of the sauce, but a few also noted a slight "metallic" taste. And they really liked the toppings -- "juicy," "well-browned," "mild, fennel-sweet" sausage and "good" cheese with "a nice amount of salt." Said one judge of the pie: "a very satisfying slice with good sausage flavor."

Broccoli ricotta white pizza

Mario's
As with the sausage pizza, Mario's broccoli ricotta white pizza just didn't get the judges all that enthused. They weren't fans of the granulated garlic on the crust. And a few thought the ricotta was too wet. Summarized one judge, "I love the idea of a heavy ricotta white pizza, but it doesn't quite work with the crust."

Marino's
Here's where Marino's blew the roof off -- and it did so with a variety of pizza that's proven to be a curveball for so many shops. Judges praised the "airy and light" crust that "keeps structural integrity." One noted a "great aroma of garlic." They raved about the toppings, which one judge called "perfect" -- "ricotta is so good" with its "milky sweetness"; "broccoli has great crunch!" and "good color." Summarized one judge, "Probably about as good as broccoli pizza gets." And another: "I hate white pizza, but I'm going to crave this!"

TOP2014_RD1_Schenectady_scene.jpg

Up next

Mario's has done well in its many TOP appearances. But this time it was up against a steamroller. Marino's advances to semifinal -- and based on this performance, it's looking like an early favorite to take the whole the tournament.

Tomorrow: Defending tournament champ DeFazio's of Troy takes on two-time semifinalist and 4th Street rival I Love.

The 2014 Tournament of Pizza is sponsored by Keeler Mini

Comments

I've been telling everyone for many many years that Marinos is the best pizza in the Capital Region.. There you go! (Just remember, they are cash only)

Mario's sausage pizza looked SO GREAT!
Wish they delivered to Albany!
Now , i will have to make my home made sauce for dinner.
Gosh AOA , reading Mary's & Gregg's wonderful food stories has put weight on me.

Marino's has the best pizza in the Capital Region without a doubt!!!

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Biz Review: Central Warehouse has been sold

Ace local real estate reporter Mike DeMasi reported today that Central Warehouse -- AKA, that enormous block of a building with peeling paint that sits... (more)

Finding refuge: Olivier Mandevu

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region. Olivier Mandevu came to Albany... (more)

Morning Blend

Troy police involved shooting Video has surfaced of the man shot by Troy police, bleeding on the ground as officers pushed him down and cuffed... (more)

Imagining possibilities for Sheridan Hollow

Sheridan Hollow is one of Albany's oldest neighborhoods. And throughout much of that history, the neighborhood has repeatedly been overlooked, bypassed, or excluded. It's gotten... (more)

Finding refuge: Ni-Lar Way, Besa Paw, Christer-Say, Christer-Htoo

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region. Ni-Lar Way, Besa Paw, and... (more)

Recent Comments

What a brave young woman. Despite all of the hardships she has endured her main focus is to educate herself in order to spend her life in service to others as a doctor. How inspiring.

Imagining possibilities for Sheridan Hollow

...has 2 comments, most recently from albs

Finding refuge: Ni-Lar Way, Besa Paw, Christer-Say, Christer-Htoo

...has 2 comments, most recently from JenR

Finding refuge: Tafsela Hashimi

...has 2 comments, most recently from Kate

Today's moment of summer

...has 1 comment, most recently from Danielle Sanzone

Remembering Friday nights in Troy

...has 11 comments, most recently from Bernard Leach